Going international is a fantastic strategy that many retailers are getting in on. And for good reason. According to reports, online retail e-commerce sales have been steadily climbing year-over-year and are only expected to increase in the future.
However, since going international with e-commerce operations is proving to be a profitable business strategy, this also means that competition is fierce. Therefore, you need to be aware of why exactly a customer would choose their brand over another. According to a Nielsen report, 42% of respondents list pricing differences as their top reason for switching brands. But, it is important to note that the next most common reason for purchasing is a better brand experience.
The UX of your international business can be your defining factor for attracting global customers. But, even the smallest misstep in the online experience could be enough to send your customers looking elsewhere.
Curious to see if your brand is guilty of these little mistakes that could be cutting into profits? Let’s dive in.
1. Sticking to a Static Website
Getting your website perfect has been (and always will be) a top priority for an e-commerce business. Even the smallest details such as color scheme, layout, and product previews must be made with your target audience in mind. Furthermore, UX challenges like loading speeds and checkout processes must be constantly evaluated and improved.
However, international businesses have the added challenge of a far wider and more diverse customer base. Therefore, a design that might work well with one demographic may not be the best for another.
Using an international e-commerce platform that supports multi-country experiences can solve this issue. Be sure that your platform uses Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) for faster loading pages for international customers who may not be located near your main server. By boosting your loading speeds, you can increase conversions by up to 12%.
Be sure that other details are able to be changed based on the customer’s location, such as the language, currency, shipping rates, and pricing details. Keep in mind that unexpected shipping costs could cause as much as 24% of your customers to abandon their carts, so be sure that your website is able to adjust prices automatically based on their location to eliminate these unwelcome surprises.
2. Forgetting International SEO
Keeping on top of SEO is tough to keep track of in a single market, let alone an international one. However, understanding how to attract your global customers to your website is critical. One major mistake that many international companies make here is just copying and pasting their content from one language to another and assuming that the SEO keywords will remain as relevant in their global markets. Sadly, this is not always the case.
Your websites must be optimised for local SEO if they are going to rank well on international searches. There are two key ways to do this: country targeting and language targeting.
Country targeting will mean that you must make multiple websites with international URL structures, also called a ccTLD. According to Moz’s research on international SEO, this is the clearest signal to search engines for higher ranking. However, it does require multiple unique websites, which can be expensive and difficult to maintain. Subdomains and subdirectories are another option, as these allow visitors to select their country of origin when they visit your website. This is not as strong of a SEO strategy, but it is still a valid option and far more attainable for new startups.
Language targeting does require some coding knowledge with HREFlang tags, but it will signal to Google to showcase localised versions of your webpage during international searches. The best approach here is to hire a translator to ensure that your messaging is accurate and then partner with a coder to include these tags in your website’s code.
3. Ignoring Cryptocurrency
Another top concern that many online buyers have when dealing with global brands is the safety and security of their payments. Many of your global customers may be fearful of entering their credit card information if they’re unfamiliar with your brand. Plus, international transactions can come with high processing fees.
This is why ignoring additional payment options, specifically cryptocurrency, is a major mistake for an online business these days.
Cryptocurrency is becoming more commonplace every day, especially among international markets. Bitcoin alone is heavily traded in Japan and the US, and is quickly growing among European and other Asian markets.
Cryptocurrency transactions also provide consumers with peace of mind in terms of security. Blockchain technology is highly effective for keeping sensitive and private financial information encrypted during international transfers, which can eliminate this common fear among customers.
Remaining relevant and visible in a vast international market is a big challenge for new startups. But, many opportunities abound with a global approach to sales if the right strategies are put into place.
Creating a great customer experience through your international website is essential to startup growth. Be sure that your website platform has the necessary features and tools for a speedy experience. Optimise your SEO strategy accordingly and consider adding cryptocurrency payment options to provide your customers with a sense of security and confidence in their purchases. If you can successfully branch out to other countries, the sky is the limit!
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